HISD families receive free bags of food for the holidays

With the season of giving upon us, AVANCE – San Antonio, Inc. has partnered once again with United Way and the Family School Community Partnership to provide hundreds of HISD families with free bags of food sponsored by well-known S.A. philanthropist Harvey Najim.

More than 30 AVANCE staff members and parent volunteers gathered at Bellaire and Vestal Elementary this week to prepare multiple bags filled with all the essentials to prepare a delicious holiday dinner. Bell peppers, Serrano peppers, cucumbers, onions, frozen ham, ground beef, canned fruits, boxed noodles and loaves of bread were among the items included.

“This is the fifth year that we’ve done this,” Andrew Gearhart, AVANCE program coordinator of parental engagement, said. “However, the emphasis this year was to provide every student with more fresh food, produce and a case of water instead of sugary drinks.”

Families arrived early by car to receive a bag of food for every child in their home.

“This is something we always look forward to, and I think that when families show up at 9:30 a.m.  – and you tell them the food trucks won’t be here until 11:30 a.m., and they wait – it shows the need,” Gearhart said.

Bellaire Elementary Principal Elizabeth Lozano thanked all the parent volunteers for their dedication and hard work.

“Our parent volunteers are absolutely amazing, they go above and beyond in their duties,” Lozano said. “It’s a great opportunity for our community and families because every child got a bag of food, and the parents are very appreciative of that.”

Veronica Alvarado is one of those parents and has volunteered at Bellaire Elementary for two years. She was happy to lend a hand and expressed her gratitude for the donations. 

“I’m glad that there are people like Mr. Najim, who help out families in need,” she said. “I have a son and a nephew here, and I feel grateful that we will have a good meal this Christmas.”

Najim stopped by the Bellaire campus to thank all the volunteers and expressed the importance of helping families during this time of year.

“I don’t think any child should go without food during the holidays,” he said. “The schools give them food, but during the holidays, a lot of them don’t get food. Last year we did it, but this is much better; they are getting much more for the holidays.”

The food bag giveaway will continue at Terrell Wells Middle School next Wednesday. 

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